"Father, the hour has come." So the beginning of this weekend’s Gospel (Jn 17:1) certainly brings to mind so much of what this week has given us. Looking around, we see the so-called safe reopening of businesses and the appearances of being on the brink of some kind of return to normal living. Yet, we know there have been too many changes for us to be simply be back to normal. There are extremes of how we should respond to all this. Whether you are amongst those who are angry and think this is against God and country, or you are too afraid to come back because the virus is still out there waiting for its next victim, or you just don’t know what to think, this sixth week of Ordinary Time tells us that "the hour has come." We hear from the Farewell Discourse from the Gospel of John, which means Jesus is preparing His disciples for what is coming next...His impending death. He prepares them, as most people do when they are preparing to leave those they love, to understand that they will not be alone. He lets them know that He will be leaving, but promises that He will leave them the gift of the Advocate. Jesus reminds them that even if there is suffering, they should remain faithful.
So much of our lives are really more about preparing than about planning. As Catholics, we prepare because we do not know how things will actually go and it allows us to be still in faith even in the midst of plans that may not go the way we want. That is why we prepare for reopening of not only businesses, but our return to open Churches and celebrating the Sacraments the way in which we really need. In the next few days I will make sure that you have the guidelines the Diocese will ask us to follow so we can get back to some kind of a normal spiritual life here at Church. The bottom line is that we will have our first open Mass on Memorial Day, May 25th at 9:30 a.m. Beginning May 26th, we will have the return of our two daily Masses at 8:15 a.m. & 6:30 p.m. Even though we will have a Vigil Mass on Saturday to see on our website, our first weekend Mass with people present will be on PENTECOST SUNDAY, May 31st. Yes, you read that right, our first return is the final day of Easter, the Descent of the Holy Spirit, the Tongues of Fire and the Rushing Wind, and the birth of the Church. Please watch your mail and our website for more information and particular changes. Whether it’s your shirt or dress or socks, get your red on to show the gift of the Holy Spirit in your life.
I know I originally said I would celebrate my final Mass on Pentecost Sunday, but I was given permission to stay for two more weekends. This means that if I don’t see you on our first weekend back, I might get to see you on Trinity Sunday or Corpus Christi Sunday. I realize that there are many who will not be able to be here at all, in order to keep yourself safe. I wish there could be another way, but there is not. Obviously, we will not have a farewell gathering for my farewell discourse, but I know I am surrounded with your prayers and love. Believing what we believe, we know that we will always be with each other at the Altar of the Lord.
Thank you for your patience as we try to figure out all the details of what these next few weeks will look like. I pray for you always.
Fr. Bline, your pastor still